Cedarsong® Nature School Staff

erin_faceErin Kenny, Cedarsong Nature School co-founder and Director:  Erin has been designing programs to connect children with nature for over twenty years. Erin has a B.A. in environmental education and a J.D. in environmental law.  In 2006, Erin developed Cedarsong Preschool, a nature-based preschool, and was fascinated by how well the children retained information when they had hands on experiences. In 2007 Erin formed the non-profit Cedarsong Nature School and, with the help of Robin Rogers, started the first U.S. Forest Kindergarten, an entirely-outdoor preschool that was originally based on the German waldkindergarten model. Erin’s extensive experience and her resulting expertise inspired her to create The Cedarsong Way® Forest Kindergarten Teacher Training and Certification Program to assist others in their dream of pursuing this exciting and unique early childhood education model. Erin also frequently shares her passion by speaking at conferences and universities about The Cedarsong Way Forest Kindergarten model and the specific benefits of her Nature Pedagogy. Erin has attended international Study Trips in the Netherlands, Germany, Scotland, S. Korea and Iceland to further her own learning and has been the keynote speaker at international conferences in Canada, S. Korea, Australia, England and Iceland. Erin wrote the book “Forest Kindergartens: The Cedarsong Way” and wrote a chapter in David Sobel’s new book “Nature Pre-schools and Forest Kindergartens”. Erin is a member of the American Forest Kindergarten Association, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the National Science Teacher’s Association (NSTA), The World Forum Foundation’s Nature Action Collaborative for Children, and the National Wildlife Federation’s ‘Be Out There’ campaign. Erin is passionate about her subject matter and her infectious enthusiasm makes her an extremely likeable and effective teacher. Learn more about Erin Kenny.

Karen Olsen, Principal/Lead Teacher and Teacher Training Co-Leader: Karen has been a Cedarsong teacher for seven years and has loved the growth and bonding times with her young forest explorers. Karen has a BA and an MA in ESL from Antioch University, Seattle. As far back as Karen can remember, she always loved spending time outdoors. As a child, Karen would go on “nature walks,” where she would collect interesting things, like walnuts, leaves, rocks and some insects in a little pail. During her school days, Karen frequently did her homework outside and when she got her driver’s license, she loved finding different parks and nature preserves to go for hikes and camping. Eventually, she realized that these times actually had a profound impact on the way she viewed life. Karen finds it can be very spiritual to spend some time removed from anything human-made. In her spare time, she coaches the Vashon High School Girls Soccer Team.When Karen is not playing in the forest, she enjoys time with her family and friends, photography, cooking vegan dishes, board games, playing with her dogs and reading good books. Karen co-leads the Forest Kindergarten Teacher Training Program and is a proud member of the American Forest Kindergarten Association.

Aly Thatcher, Forest Kindergarten Teacher: Aly has always had a heart for Mother Nature. While earning her B.A. in Sociology, she became fascinated with early childhood development and how it benefits from a deep-rooted connection to the natural world. She was passionate about finding alternative education models, and learning ways to encourage discovery and wonder while setting aside competition and hurried-spirits. She witnessed firsthand the emotionally therapeutic benefits of the outdoors while nannying three young children, watching them grow and facilitating nature play. When Aly discovered Cedarsong she immediately knew that this was where her journey in her education and the passion in her heart was leading her. She earned her Forest Kindergarten Teacher Certification through Cedarsong in the fall of 2016 and spent every moment she could as a volunteer teacher and substitute for Cedarsong before beginning her journey on staff. You can find her sitting on the forest floor, observing critters and building fairy homes. When she’s not playing in the forest, Aly loves to read, visit with dear friends, and take care of her little orange cat, Jim, who loves the outdoors just as much as her. Aly is proud to be a forest kindergarten teacher!

Nicole Corbo, Forest Kindergarten Teacher and substitute: Nicole is an enthusiastic teacher and has spent over twenty years working with children. She has a BA in English literature, with a minor focus in adolescent education, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Washington, where she studied creative writing. Her diverse teaching experiences with young students range from classroom time with preschool and Kindergarten aged children to nature-based experiential learning with preschool up to high school aged youth. Prior to graduate school, Nicole spent nearly 14 years as a river guide in Grand Canyon and Idaho so she is well versed in wilderness medicine. She is also a writer and storyteller. Nicole has a tremendous passion for sharing the wonders of the natural world, plus she really likes playing outside.

Claire Schlosser, Substitute Forest Kindergarten Teacher: Claire grew up exploring the lakes, forests and rivers of Minnesota where she learned to appreciate the wonder of Nature in all of its glorious seasons. Claire is an enthusiastic early childhood educator with a degree in Montessori and almost a decade of experience teaching young children. She is also an accomplished artist with an MFA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Claire loves being with children in the forest, supporting them as they bloom and grow. She loves to go hiking with her two Yorkies and is most at peace while riding and exploring the trails with her beloved horse. You will often find Claire outside writing poetry, reading about trees and unicorns or curled up under a cedar for a cozy nap. Claire is also a forest school teacher at Tacoma’s Nurture in Nature.